From Eastern Europe With Love

From Eastern Europe With Love

So I recently got back from taking a trip to Croatia for a wedding. The island of Hvar to be specific.

It’s a lovely place with a town (also named Hvar) spanning I’d say around a mile in diameter. Not large at all.

While I didn’t cope with the heat well at all, seeing as even here in the UK I find it hard to tolerate the very random and brief sunny spells that visit, I did adore the sights and culture.

The town itself is very picturesque with cobblestone streets, old stone buildings lined up, narrow alleys and stone steps for streets between the buildings. A welcome change from the wide busy streets filled with cars and red brick that I’m used to.

Compared to my previous trip to Paris however the atmosphere was very different and I noticed it straight away. There were tourists in Hvar as there was in Paris but the attitude of the locals were totally different. I suppose due to the size of the town itself it seemed like everyone knew everyone and seemed to get along really well. In Paris it was sort of like being alone in a large throng of people constantly moving. It made me feel very small and it was sort of exciting just exploring not knowing and knowing that no one would interfere or try to help. In Hvar everyone was the opposite. Friendly, outgoing and offering aid if it seemed like you needed it.

The town square in Hvar is the hub of activity with several food shops lined up side by side using an elevated square within the centre as a space for tables and chairs. I thought it was one massive restraunt at first before I realised the hedges between rows signified the boundaries of each separate establishment.

Aside from this the most noticable difference was at around 1-2PM.

The entire place just seemed to die off.

I remember walking up to a fort on the top of the hill which overlooks the town and coming back down to find pretty much every employee milling around outside their shop and simply taking in the sun. No one was bothering them either.

It was a strange sight to see pretty much the entire town on break as it were when back in the UK or even Paris someone seems to be on shift all the time.

Once the break was over though it was back to business as usual and it was strange to be standing observing the square as the employees went back to work and almost immediately tourists and locals came pouring out of their homes back into the streets to shop and dine.

The entire place is one of outstanding beauty, both in visuals and atmosphere. I do still prefer the business and more temperate climate of Paris however, where I hope to return later this year or early next year.

However, Croatia was definitely an eye opener though in many aspects and I can definitely see why some do love visiting these small and otherwise unknown places that fly under the radar for most people.

I’ve taken several photos along my journey that I’ve put below along with a video put together from footage I took while exploring during my spare time and not so spare time. Enjoy!

Hvar, Croatia – An Adventure In Three Minutes from Alex Holyoake on Vimeo.

LX & CRT In Paris

LX & CRT In Paris

So I went on a short adventure. Over the last couple of days I’ve been hard at work touring Paris and taking in the sights with my cousin Curtis. We started the afternoon we arrived, making our moves shortly after settling in. Navigating the metro was easier than expected, and felt very similar to London in most aspects.

The sights and views the city has to offer are fantastic. I don’t think I’ve ever been to a city that can offer such breathtaking views and shots. Unfortunately the constant travelling that we did and the infernal stairs we had to climb took our breath away too. I’m not one for long monologues about my travels. I’ll let the audio and visuals do the talking. Be sure to check out my Instagram over the coming weeks though, I’ll be uploading regularly some shots that aren’t even on my Flickr! Continue reading “LX & CRT In Paris”

Interstellar Travel

 

Let’s get one thing clear first.

I don’t watch many films.

However, I did decide to watch Interstellar, and boy am I glad I did! It gripped and entranced me in a way no other film has ever done for me. It made me realise how much we focus on material items down here, how awestruck we are at the ‘world’s thinnest’ or ‘world’s lightest’ and ‘world’s fastest’ instead of looking out into space and wondering what could be out there, what we could achieve as a species, and what our destiny is among other stars.

The visual effects were gripping enough, and I’m not ashamed to admit I’ve watched every theory video on the science underpinning the film, including the documentary within the iTunes edition. It astounded me on how much of the science (although in some places creative) was plausible and correctly reproduced through circumstance and visual effects. The idea that wormholes could potentially be placed, exist, or be created and held open (with the help of negative matter) inspired me. In my opinion the world’s resources are spent too much on creative mundane goods, and not enough is spent on trying to reach out and expand our knowledge and understanding of the universe (or multiverse) as we know it.

Of course it wasn’t just the cold hard science baked into the film that impressed me all by itself. It was the imagination and the thought that was put into speculating what could exist beyond a black hole and other ideas. The question of the fifth dimension excited me especially. Neil deGrauss was especially forthcoming in an interview that the idea of a fith dimension being a physical representation of time was not unimaginable at all.

We live in four dimensions ourselves. We have a three dimensional space (X,Y,Z), or our position in space, and we have a time dimension (e.g. 10:31). Combining these space and time dimensions is key for everyday life. We govern our entire lives by when we need to do something, and where. However, while we are free to move around in our three dimensional space (forward, back, left, right, up, down), we cannot use those came movements in the time dimension. We are constantly stuck in the present, moving between the past and the future continually. So, say if there are beings, or a being, occupying a fith dimension, it isn’t that hard to imagine that they can escape those boundaries and move freely through time at will, which would enable them to know all things throughout time and perhaps even manipulate (as seen in the film) events that are always happening (as tense would have no place there, there would be no past, nor present, nor future. Things would just be).

Which also leads me to another aspect of the film which gripped me.

The perils of gravity and time.

It struck me on an emotional level of the perils when space time is distorted by gravity only for a certai few individuals instead of an entire race. The scene where Cooper catches up on 23 years he has missed out on his children’s lives (which has only been around 3 hours for him), made me realise that while space travel is an ambition, it is also a real dilemma regarding the warping of time and the fact that more gravity equals slower time (I believe I remembered that correctly), giving ethical and emotional considerations if interstellar travel ever came into existence.

I think the bottom line of what I’m really getting at, besides the explanation of the science behind the film, is that if humanity reaches out to other stars, it would be both an awe-inspiring and fearful time, and I think the fear of the unknown keeps humanity back, as we focus on what we already know. Perhaps one day (hopefully within my lifetime), that barrier can be crossed, and it won’t be a global crisis that forces us out into the stars, but rather our own desire to explore and discover what we don’t understand.

On a more personal opinion of the film though besides the science and plausibility, I’d honestly say TARS and CASE were the true actors. If we ever reach an AI standard like those robots have, I’d get one without question.

Watch Interstellar. Trust me, you’ll be glad you did.

Vimeo vs YouTube

Okay guys, so I have a little dilemma. Which do I choose? Vimeo, the video hosting service that actually hosts worthwhile videos? Or YouTube, the hosting service with random crap that Joe Blogs posts up every day? Well, I thought I’d ask the expert. Myself. Yeah I know, it seems a little big-headed of me to ask myself and do a while blog post on my whole answer, but I wanted to get this all down quick before the idea left me, and I couldn’t get hold of one of my more able experts quickly…so I asked myself. Here’s my answer:

To be honest, it depends on what you’re doing.

For someone who wants to watch worthwhile videos that are considerably longer and doesn’t want the random YouTube dirt showing up, choose Vimeo. The few problems with it are that not many people upload to Vimeo, so you’ll be limited for choice, and also that it is less accessible from mobile devices. The positives to Vimeo are the clean interface, the lack of adverts (since pro users pay), the quality of the content, and the ease of use. I, personally, would choose Vimeo for my endeavours, but since YouTube is a more populated platform, I use it instead to reach a broader audience.

For those who will watch anything that enters their eyeball, then choose YouTube. Quality ranges from 1-10 and any person can post a video of their pet cat and beyond. Cool, right? For some it is, and for some it isn’t. The only problem with YouTube, I would say, is that there are too many videos that serve as meaningless drivel. Also, say you’re searching for a music video. Instead of having the one solitary video come up, you get 100,000 results and, after going through them, you realise they’re all low quality apart from one. That’s the problem with YouTube. Too many amateurs posting whatever passes through the lens. Folks, that’s what Facebook’s video sharing service is for. If you want to share a video with friends, don’t upload it to YouTube, send it to Bill!

Anyway, I think I’ve made my point. Vimeo is better than YouTube in many aspects, but just needs more users to become a competitive contestant to YouTube. YouTube, however, has also started to up it’s game, bringing in new features and a new facelift. For me, for practicality, I’ll use YouTube…but, if Vimeo somehow became popular, I’d switch to it immediately…

Bless your face. If you coughed or sneezed during the reading of this article then bless you. Peace off, and may your toes stay clean.

Alex Out.

Follow me on Twitter! @_TheRealAlex_ and/or @Stairhopper

Let’s Play Terraria – Episode 3: The Forbidden Cave

Well, here it is! I hope you enjoy the third installment of my Let’s Play series! Stay tuned for more episodes!

Summary:

Welcome to the third episode of Alex & George’s now-with-commentary Let’s Play Terraria series! In this episode Alex realises that bungalows really are houses, George turns to the dark side, and the Guide betrays them both…

 

Bless your face. If you coughed or sneezed during the reading of this article then bless you. Peace off, and may your toes stay clean.

Alex/Stairhopper Out.

Follow me on Twitter! @_TheRealAlex_ and/or @Stairhopper

Let’s Play Terraria – Episode 2: George Included

Well, here it is! I hope you enjoy the next installment of my Let’s Play series!

Summary:

Welcome to the second episode of Alex & George’s not-very-popular-but-will-be-when-we-get-mics Let’s Play Terraria series! In this episode George learns the true meaning of friendship (namely rescuing Alex from slimes), Alex realises how important toast is, and they both come to terms with George’s unique disease: Zombitus…

 

Bless your face. If you coughed or sneezed during the reading of this article then bless you. Peace off, and may your toes stay clean.

Alex/Stairhopper Out.

Follow me on Twitter! @_TheRealAlex_ and/or @Stairhopper